There is a serious issue going on in the addiction world and treatment community today. Some may not view a particular linguistic preference as “serious”, but it has its implications in many cases. What we are discussing here is the use of the word “Surrender” within the context of addiction recovery. There is a strange and paradoxical association that happens when we put a typically negatively connotated verb in the context of a positive idea. For instance, if we are discussing the importance of surrender and addiction, one may not be able to immediately connect the positive meaning behind surrender in this case and may view surrender in a negative light. When we talk about surrendering during the recovery process, we are remiss not to point out that we are, in fact, empowering ourselves in order to begin the process of personal growth and evolution. Language here, becomes very important as an individual’s perception of what is meant behind the use of particular language can be skewed if we are not care to clarify. There are also certain dimensions within personality theory studies that indicate that particular individuals have a strong proclivity to resisting this type of language (surrender) due to the fact that need to see themselves as never giving up. This is, of course, ironic as what we are actually surrendering to is our formerly addicted and tyrannical self. The self that needed to have what it wanted, when it wanted it. The self that was immature and childish in nature and who refused to take personal responsibility for their actions. The self that couldn’t function without drugs and alcohol. Finally, the self that embodies what Freud called “Thanatos”, or the death instinct that drives to annihilate all forms of life.
Once we become able to understand what surrendering really means and are able to articulate this to the struggling newcomer, we can immediately see that surrendering is not an act of cowardice, and far from it. Surrender in recovery is characterized by courage, wisdom, bravery, faith, and finally love. When we can begin to learn that we are innately worthwhile and valuable, we can surrender our former self. Once we have surrendered, we paralyze our former self who was the tyrannical strongman that kept growth, healing, and love at bay in order to serve its own purpose; there is strength in surrender.